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System Maintenance Tutorials

Click on the Weekly and Monthly links below for video and screen shot tutorials to help keep your system running lean and mean!

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Heartbleed!
Heartbleed is just the latest in a long list of cyber security breaches. But Heartbleed seems to be a bit different mainly because it has gone undetected for so long there is no way to know how extensive the damage is. We could be seeing only the tip of the iceberg. The repercussions could be felt way into the future. 

Heartbleed is a big deal but being as jaded as we are by all of the security issues popping up everywhere, it seems hard to take it too seriously. In this case taking our time to respond might not be such a bad thing.


The main defense against any security breach is the ubiquitous password. Changing your passwords on all your critical accounts will be paramount to your personal financial security.


But wait, what if you access your account to change your password and the site hasn't been secured yet. How do we know when to change passwords?


Check out this website:
https://filippo.io/Heartbleed/


Plug in the website you are wondering about such as PayPal.com or Amazon.com or your bank's website. If it is safe then go ahead and change your password. It is a good idea to change your security questions as well, as these could also be compromised.

Changing your email password is crucial as access to your email account can allow a hacker to change your password on other accounts. Keeping vigil over your email account is important as well. If you are locked out of your email because your current password no longer works, or if you are able to get into your email account but have notices of changes to passwords for other accounts that you did not change you need to act swiftly to safeguard your critical accounts and may need to call your bank and credit card companies to put a temporary hold on activity.

Many sites use your cell phone to verify changes to your account and your cell phone could also be vulnerable. Beware of text messages from your cell provider that offer a link. Clicking on the link could let a hacker into your phone and from there into your accounts even after you have changed the passwords.

Staying secure into the future:

  • Get into the habit of changing your passwords every few months or whenever you have a bad feeling that your account could be vulnerable.
  • Keep a list of sites where you use your bank or credit accounts to pay for things such as Amazon, Ebay, PayPal, and charities. Change these passwords from time to time.
  • Keep a list of phone numbers to your bank and credit card companies along with your account numbers (stored in a secure place) so you can react swiftly to any security breach that arises.

 Staying vigilent is your best defense!

 

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Sharing too much
Have you ever met someone who tells you their whole life story on the first meeting? People who share too much in social settings strike us as a little unbalanced. Yet we are all out there on Facebook and other social media sites posting pictures of our kids and pets, revealing our birthdays, where we were born and where we live now, where we work, where we went to school, and when and where we are going on vacations, what schools our kids go to and where we go to church without much thought about who can access this information and how they might use it. 
 
If you haven't sat down with a friend and checked out your Facebook and other social media presence on their accounts, it is a good idea to give it a try. Using their Facebook account look at what they see when they visit your page or how your posts show up on their feed.  Better yet, find someone who isn't a Facebook friend yet to see what they can access. You might be surprised. And you might want to revisit some of those privacy settings to be sure you are not sharing too much with too many people--especially with people you don't know. 
 
It's also a good idea to Google yourself once in a while to see what comes up. There might not be much out there that you can access for free but were you to subscribe to some of the data services there's an awful lot more about you that will show up in their web searches. 
 
Being educated on where and how our personal information can be used and abused is all our responsibility. 
 
Here is more information on how to protect yourself from sharing too much personal information on the internet through social media and smartphones/handheld devices.
 
Smart phones let marketers and others track your every move
Ever wonder why your computer or smart phone seems to know where you live and what you are searching for? Cookies have long been used by websites to plant information on your computer or other device so that when you return, the site will load quickly and may even access information about your last visit. Cleaning cooking off your web browser is easy and if you are concerned about some of the sites you've been to placing cookies, you should be clearing your cookies frequently.
 

https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/32050?hl=en


Smart phones and other hand held devices operate a little differently. As you move about the world with one of these devices in your purse or pocket it is sending out signals looking for possible sources of connection to the the net even when you are not actively connected. As you pass by major retailers or enter their stores, their powerful receivers catalog your presence and your movements using a unique identifier that comes programmed into your device. How this information can potentially be used to identify you personally by zeroing in on where you spend most of your time, i.e. your address, your place of employment etc., is worrisome to many people. That this information could be sold is also worrisome.


For more information:


http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/07/economist-explains-13


http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/phone-stalking2.htm


Information captured by marketers may be less worrisome than how easy it is to be stalked and hacked via your smartphone or other hand-held device. If you are communicating with your social media accounts via the device or if someone has successfully hacked into you phone or device, your movements, activities and personal information can be tracked without your knowledge. You may even be posting your movements for friends and family to see, unaware that this information is being stored and may be accessible by others despite you security setting.


http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/phone-stalking1.htm


What you share on social media can leave you, as well as family and friends, vulnerable to hackers and stalkers. Here is an article on things you should not be sharing on social media if you value your privacy and security.


http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/social-networking/information/10-things-you-should-not-share-on-social-networks.htm#page=0

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Great New Option in Computer Security and Maintenance!!
CrexTechs has been offering great anti-virus protection with Vipre Anti-virus and Vipre Internet Security for many years.
 
Now we have a exciting new option for you!
 
We call it CTSA (CrexTechs Security Agent).
 
Wish you didn’t have to deal with computer maintenance tasks like virus scans and program updates? Wondering why your computer is slowing down or you internet is choking? The biggest complaints we hear from out customers is poor computer and internet performance and how much time it takes to keep up with daily, weekly and monthly maintenance that doesn't seem to be doing anything. 
 
Now CrexTechs can take all that bother and confusion out of computing. CrexTechs, partnering with GFI, the parent company of Vipre Anti-Virus, is bringing you an easy and affordable way to keep your computer safe and up to date as well as to troubleshoot issues and keep you running smoothly.
 
And it’s easy and affordable!!
 
Easy means CrexTechs handles everything!! With CrexTechs Security Agent tools, CrexTechs can remotely manage the health of your computer 24/7 looking for issues from virus threats to hardware problems, automatically installing updates and patches, saving you time and money.
 
Affordable means we have plans and prices that give you options for coverage.
 
Plan I -- CTSA Managed Anti-virus $60.00 per year* If you only want anti-virus protection our Plan I -- Managed Anti-virus option gives you the reliable protection you’ve loved with Vipre but with the added benefit that CrexTechs will handle everything for you. No need to update the program or run your scans, CrexTechs will take care of it for you. This plan offers sixty minutes of remote support as part of the package.
 
Plan II -- CTSA Remote Computer Management $65.00 per year* If you have anti-virus protection but want us to remotely manage your system and handle program updates from Windows to Java to Acrobat Reader and more, Plan II--CTSA Remote Computer Management is your ticket to peace of mind. Remote Computer Management is a 24/7 computer health monitoring system that handles all your computer maintenance tasks remotely using state-of-the-art security agent software. We handle all your program updates, run maintenance utilities, and monitor for connectivity and performance issues as well as for hardware problems. We receive alerts via the security agent software about issues before they become problems. We also offer remote support via our security agent software. This plan offers sixty minutes of remote support as part of the package.
 
Plan III -- CTSA Managed Anti-Virus and CTSA Remote Computer Management $120.00 per year* With Plan III, you get both Managed Anti-Virus and Remote Computer Management together. Let us handle everything. This plan offers 120 minutes of remote support as part of the package.
 
Requirements: All three plans require high speed DSL or cable internets. All three plans require installation of our remote agent at no additional cost.
 
Give us a call at 715 463 2365 and let us tell you about the advantages of this exciting new option!
 
*CrexTechs monitors for issues remotely. Repair and service work will be handled remotely where possible or in our shop. Labor and parts for repairs and service will be charged at our usual prices and rates.

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Windows XP users, the countdown is on!

If you are running a Windows XP machine, your days are numbered. And that number is 82 today. It will be 81 tomorrow! That's how many days are left until April 2014 when your XP machine will be a relic of the past and if you keep trying to use it on line, you will find it more and more difficult as will as highly risky.


As of April 2014 Microsoft will no longer be supporting Windows XP which means, Microsoft will no longer be issuing security updates, patches and hotfixes for XP.


Hackers are waiting for "zero day" (April 1, 2014) when XP becomes vulnerable to having security holes exploited.


Further, software for XP will no longer be developed which includes business applications, web browsers, Adobe and other apps as well as drivers for all kinds of devices.


Your anti-virus provider may also be unwilling or unable to continue to supporting XP as security issues will skyrocket without security updates from Microsoft.


What to do?


Whether you are an individual or a business still using XP, there is no time to waste to convert to Windows 7 or 8 (we recommend 7) as you may well have to upgrade more than just your operating system. Windows 7 and Windows 8 have minimal requirements that your outdated peripherals might not possess. Further, meeting minimal requirements may not be enough to give you the power and functionality on Windows 7 or 8 at the optimal level you require or have grown accustomed to. Printers and scanners may need to be replaced. Businesses using Microsoft 2003 servers will see support ending in 2015.


Making the switch over at this late date could be tough for businesses running custom software that may need to be redeveloped for a move to the new OS.


Some folks are willing to take their chances on continuing with XP but if your business is storing and using personal data from your customers you might want to think hard on the the security issues and what impact that will have on liability should your system get hacked.


If you are ready to make the move, give us a call or come on in to discuss your options. You might be able to upgrade an existing machine to Windows 7. If you have to build a new computer or get a new laptop, we can help you with that too.

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